Leaders in Pharmacy, including this independently written article, is supported by Pfizer Canada Inc.
Demonstrating value and propelling the profession forward
By donalee Moulton
Photography by Adam Blasberg
The 14 pharmacists you will read about here are making their mark on the profession of pharmacy. They are also marking a milestone. This year is the fifth anniversary of the “Leaders in Pharmacy” initiative. Since 2013, more than 65 influential and insightful individuals have come together to explore the changing role of pharmacy. They have shared best practices and paved the way for even stronger pharmacist leadership in this country.
The Leaders in Pharmacy initiative, sponsored by Pfizer Canada Inc., has resonated with pharmacists and with the profession as a whole. The leaders profiled over the last five years have told us that in a climate of constant and substantive change, learning from and connecting with each other is paramount.
Support is also critical—and it is at the heart of Pfizer Canada’s continued commitment to the Leaders in Pharmacy program. “Showcasing the work, the ideals and the knowledge of individuals propelling the pharmacy profession forward in support of their patients is essential,” says Gordon Cooper, Pfizer’s director of commercial channels. “It speaks to us all.”
Each year the Leaders in Pharmacy program has centred on a vital and timely theme. The inaugural launch looked at mentorship and gender-balanced leadership. This was followed by an exploration of effective advocacy and then strong partnerships in changing times. Last year, the leaders addressed issues of customer loyalty and enhanced adherence. These themes are still relevant, and our pharmacy leaders continue to focus their efforts on improving the profession and its delivery of services in these areas.
This year’s Leaders in Pharmacy spoke with us about a critical issue for the profession and for them as individuals: showing the value pharmacists bring to the health system. There was unanimous agreement that this is essential for the continued evolution of the profession. As one leader noted, “Pharmacy needs to realize if it doesn’t provide value to the healthcare system as a profession, it will be relegated to dispensing. There’s nothing wrong with that, but there is a much bigger world out there.”
Patients, of course, are at the centre of the healthcare system. That is pharmacy’s greatest value, says Cooper. “As a trusted and accessible healthcare provider, pharmacists can improve patient health outcomes effectively and efficiently. They are key players to enhancing healthcare in Canada.”
Highlighting the profession’s value to the healthcare system has been a longstanding need, adds Cooper. “We want to be a partner of choice in demonstrating this value—and helping to highlight how pharmacists can do even more for healthcare in this country.”
There is more to be done. As one leader noted, “At times we fall short of contributing our full value to the system. We need to get out of our comfort zone. We have to undertake a continuous quality improvement for ourselves, as well as our profession.”
The 14 Leaders in Pharmacy you will meet discuss how the profession is enhancing healthcare at both the highest and the most personal levels. There are actions that pharmacists take on a daily basis that improve health outcomes one patient at a time. Collectively, their impact is changing healthcare for the better at all levels: locally, provincially and nationally.
Gayle Romanetz is Loblaw Companies Limited’s senior director of pharmacy operations. Ensuring customers have a great experience is integral to her job. She spoke with Pharmacy Business about how a pharmacy team can stand out from the crowd – and stand out in their patients’ minds.
You have talked about striving to create an innovative experience for customers. Tell us why this is so important, and how you go about creating such an experience.
We put a lot of pressure on ourselves when we confuse invention with innovation. Invention is a thing, whereas innovation is synonymous with continuous improvement. The implementation of innovative ideas keeps things fresh; it drives colleague and customer engagement while appealing to a new patient base. If you want to be an innovator, you have to think like one and that means resisting the status quo; start small and build upon the wins one at a time. No one expects you to be the next Thomas Edison!
Truly helping people to manage their health demonstrates value and builds loyalty. How does Loblaw achieve this goal? What would you recommend pharmacists do to enhance their value to customers?
Today’s customer wants more than a prescription filled with medication by a generic pharmacist; they are looking for a partnership and holistic approach to health. Challenge your team to take some risks and go beyond medication management.
Earlier this year we launched Wellness kiosks in our Loblaw stores which allow our patients to track their blood pressure, body mass index and more. By connecting this information to our pharmacies, we can better assist by providing our patients with a whole view of their health and help them to make positive changes.
You mentioned that one of your goals is to create a great experience for customers. What constitutes a great experience? How do you know when you have succeeded in doing this?
A great experience is just that; it doesn’t have to be complicated. You leave feeling valued and in our profession, it goes even deeper. A customer needs to know that their health matters.
I see hundreds of stories each week from customers who provide feedback about how the pharmacy teams help them. Sometimes the story is lifesaving, however, most days we hear from people who sincerely appreciate how their pharmacist helped them navigate a complicated healthcare system.
How can pharmacists enhance compliance? Are there essential ingredients to success?
Compliance is top of mind for pharmacists and we need to keep things simple amid today’s fast- paced technology and the need to satisfy busy lifestyles. With day-to-day demands getting in the way, it’s not surprising many people accidentally miss a dose or delay refilling a prescription.
Digital tools are a convenient solution that allows customers to access their drug profile, medication information, and order refills from their computer or smartphone anywhere, anytime.
Creating touchpoints with customers is vital. How can pharmacies of all sizes do this?
The customer experience starts anywhere your pharmacy can be seen through a website, advertisement, in-store marketing or in person. Map out your workflow and what touchpoints will have the most value always considering the customer’s perspective. The size, format, and value proposition of your store will drive your workflow; it is not one size fits all. The one constant and “do no wrong” is to develop a personal connection with your customer, and that always starts and ends with a name.
Today’s customer wants more than a prescription filled with medication by a generic pharmacist; they are looking for a partnership and holistic approach to health.
Photo By Brandon Gray
Leaders in Pharmacy, including this independently written article, is supported by Pfizer Canada Inc. (plus LOGO)
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